Molly Stewart

Latitude Festival comedy review: Pierre Novellie

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Somewhere recently I read Pierre Novellie described as ‘a great big bear of a comedian’, which… is probably fairly accurate.

What is really nice about Novellie as a comedian is how blokily friendly he comes across as: he’s one of the lads, but one of the good lads – no Aztec vest, would probably make a point of buying condoms.

Novellie is an indomitably cheerful figure on-stage, laughing along with the audience but not in a way that seems to be making up for something lacking; rather in a purely casual, almost modest way. He is immensely likable. He notes how he has maybe become the slacker sibling: in his own words, ‘the character Jack Black would play’ – which is maybe a bit hard on himself; though it opens up a nice routine of the phenomenon of the ill-funded community centre as the crux of feel-good movies.

Because he isn’t striving to do so, Pierre Novellie very easily manages to befriend his audience. But even in that case, it’s their prerogative.

His laid-back comedy slots in nicely to the Cabaret tent at Latitude festival; actually as does Novellie. Naturally there are jokes made about the swathes of middle class festival-goers, but happily with a new slant that doesn’t just rely on gags about The Observer. A neat, grinningly adolescent observation about young children and grandma’s being the most likely to ghosts, while also looming out in neon light in the Faraway Forest at midnight was a refreshing and fruitful change.

As well, he smiles through a laugh-heavy (though fairly niche) cache of cartoon impressions and a Game of Thrones accent, improving everyday adverts; his blunt South African cruise ad tagline is particularly good.

It’s so easy to warm to Novellie as a stand-up, and his material is incredibly easy to get behind too. As with all – of at least, the vast majority of – comedy at a warm, sunny festival, its audience is relaxed and smiling, not giddy and on edge; and for that, Pierre Novellie is perfect.